Monday, July 30, 2012


My father has the telltale signs of a cancer patient -- bald head, big sunken eyes, taut cheeks.  It's only been two weeks since I saw him last and the transformation is heartbreaking.  Although the last few days he's been eating, his weight loss is extreme.  My mother has been reassuring on the phone, hopeful that eating is a sign of recovery, but even three thousand miles away I knew the truth.  I roused my father from a deep sleep, he smiled and immediately adorned me with "I love you."  I'm most certain he doesn't know how long I've been gone, but he seems to be aware I live in California. "You're cute," he told me, and reiterated to my mother how good I looked.  He commented on my highlights.  "Natural," I told him.  He strings words together, but complete sentences are out of his realm.  Italian, a language he never spoke, but heard often when my mother's parents were alive, is his vocabulary of choice.

I returned to NJ with a clear mission; to reassess, and guide him.  The morphine, ativan cocktail alleviates some of his pain, but not all.  He winces often and furrows his brow.  When we had a few seconds alone, I took his hand, "Dad, I'm here to help you. I will guide you through this. We can do this together.  You're not alone, you are loved."  I reassured him that everyone, particularly my mother, would be okay.  He does not need to worry, he can let go.  "Do you know what I'm saying to you, do you understand?"  He squeezed my hand, gave me a big gummy smile, and said, "yes."

1 comment:

  1. A guide and a hand to hold -- the greatest gifts. Thinking of you & your family - and sending you love and support. Wish I was there.